Settling in

Annie's post yesterday struck a chord with me. I love Fall -- not that we get a whole lot of changing leaves and sweater weather in Texas. But we get enough, and what doesn't occur naturally we create for ourselves -- orange wreaths on doors, soup simmering in the crockpot, a bowl of apples on the kitchen table, football, football, FOOTBALL everywhere. I love the sights and smells of Fall, but it's the return to school that brings me home -- back to myself. School always was (and probably always will be) a place of purpose and confidence for me. I love the learning, the performing, heck -- even the testing. I love the schedule -- everyone back in their appointed places after the meanderings of summer. "Let's all roll up our sleeves (gird up our loins?) and get to work!" That's what Fall says to me. Mostly, I happily obey.

 Road trip to Utah. Somewhere near Shiprock, NM.

Road trip to Utah. Somewhere near Shiprock, NM.

Last week I was in Utah helping Maddie get settled into her apartment near BYU. This is her sophomore year, and after an entire summer on her own in NYC she's far more settled and prepared than those first shaky days of her freshman Fall. And still, I know my kid . . . and she doesn't take kindly to transitions. She's living somewhere new, with new roommates, new classes, and (hopefully) a new job. I could sense her anxiety, and being the empathic person I am, I took all of her anxiousness and set it right next to my heart -- alongside her sister's ailing foot in France, and Becca's three AP classes, and Parker's desire to be a star football player even though his promised growth spurt hasn't materialized (yet). 

 Morning view of Timp from Heber.

Morning view of Timp from Heber.

When I returned home from Utah, I intended to claim my Fall. My back-to-school mojo. I woke up bright and early Tuesday morning (after Labor Day) to get Becca off to seminary. I dropped Parker at cross country practice and arrived at Crossfit by 7. By 7:10 I was having this conversation with myself, "I can't do this. I'm too tired. And I can't get up at 5 AM everyday. I can't make lunches everyday. Or dinner. WHAT ABOUT DINNER?" My mojo was mysteriously gone. 

Later that day, still feeling anxious and blue, I bought Halloween stickers at Target. 

The next day I wrote three letters, bought a dirty Diet Coke, and sang loudly in the car. Maddie called to tell me she had two job interviews and had made spaghetti in her apartment. Becca wrote a lovely and well-thought out essay about her seventh birthday for English class. I picked up Parker from football practice, and he smelled like a sweaty, eighth grade boy.

 Open the sun roof even if the sun scorches your head. It makes you feel alive.

Open the sun roof even if the sun scorches your head. It makes you feel alive.

The next day I got an e-mail from a kindly French gentleman to tell me Jordan's appointment with the vascular surgeon had gone well, and she'd received a clean bill of health.

I slept through an entire night without waking up once.

I've decided that Fall isn't necessarily a magic pill. I mean, I adore candy corn and all . . . but I think I'm going to have to make this one work on sheer will power (and caffeine). And sure, maybe a little sugar.